Could Apple offer a "compatibility mode" to stop breaking old games?

Discussion in 'General Game Discussion and Questions' started by Chocolate, Sep 24, 2015.

  1. Chocolate

    Chocolate Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2010
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    Could Apple offer a "compatibility mode" to stop breaking old apps?

    You know how Windows had compatibility mode to use old software? Is something like that possible on iOS? They keep breaking a lot of apps every update, and most small devs can't keep up. Some just quit, or remove their games completely (i.e. Big Pixel's Meow Meow Happy Fight -- miss that game so much). We have so many orphaned apps as a result. And many customers basically lose their games, and the money paid is gone.

    This is Apple, so I doubt they'd do it, but if a compatibility mode was possible it would sure make me less afraid to spend money on apps. After the Bioshock situation, I'm much less likely to pay more than $5 for an app. And I'm very pro premium gaming.
     
  2. ashmike3

    ashmike3 Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2014
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    That's a very interesting thought.
     
  3. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    I would say no. Apple does not maintain legacy support in iOS to keep the OS lean, efficient and secure. Microsoft Windows is the exact opposite where it's bloated, insecure and difficult to maintain. When you download an old steam game on windows you also have to install DirectX 9c (or whatever) and a whole list of security updates that come alone with it. That's not going to even happen on iOS nor should it.
     
  4. Zwilnik

    Zwilnik Well-Known Member

    Part of the issue is on the dev side too. When Apple is going to change a feature in an SDK to access it in a different way or change how something works, they deprecate it and mark it in the current version of the OS SDK that it's going to be removed at some point in the future. Typically this is a couple of years down the line (i.e. 2 versions of the OS), giving devs plenty of time to learn the new way of doing things and update before the feature changes.

    What can also happen is if a game's engine or middleware has always used the older method, so a new game based on the engine just inherits all the SDK 'features' that are soon to be changed. So you can suddenly find yourself with an issue that gets broken by a new version of the OS.

    Add to that the situations where devs are devs and use a feature in a way that the documentation says not to do or to avoid because it works better for them. Which happens quite a bit. We're devs, it's how we roll sometimes ;)

    So the problem for Apple is that no matter what they do, stuff in *other people's code* is always going to break as they continue to improve and fix issues in the OS. It's up to the developers to fix their issues, not Apple to spend extra resources that are needed on the current OS to provide a 'broken' mode.

    In defence of developers (because otherwise, this would be very unbalanced). It's easy to find yourself in this scenario because it takes a lot of time and effort to write games. Not only have you got to write the code to use the SDKs you've got to be constantly updating yourself and learning the latest info on them to make sure you're using them properly. If you're using any 3rd party middleware, you've also got to be making sure the coders of that middleware are up to date too and the time and effort required for all this does mean it can take a long time for any changes to happen.

    If you add in the entropy caused by working with a publisher (or being a subcontractor) where you've not just got to make the changes and submit an update, you've got to get them to agree an update is needed, get them to approve it, agree on what's going to be changed, manage any feature creep added by their producers, do the actual work and then jump through all the hoops again to get it up and submitted through their system, it can be a nightmare, depending on the publisher. If they're just not interested because they're not seeing the numbers or are interested in something else right now, it can be a never ending limbo. It may also be that the dev just isn't interested because they're not getting paid for their work too.

    There is a compatibility mode of sorts of course. Old devices. Developers will keep old devices hanging around long after they're a target machine for sales simply because they know someone out there will still be trying to play the current version of the game on one and it might have some obscure issue. So they're handy to test on. They're also getting stupidly cheap. So it may be worth grabbing an older iPod Touch, iPad 2/mini and leaving it on an older version of the OS just to play your older games on.
     
  5. ackmondual

    ackmondual Well-Known Member

    Dec 25, 2009
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    FWIW, I've tried using Compatibility Mode when I moved to Windows XP, and then Windows 7. I've never gotten any of my few programs to work via that.

    If nothing else, I'm wondering if just everyone needs to update ASAP. The queues are long if everyone's doing it. Just avoid the traffic if you can, and get in a week later or so :)

    I have read articles where folks will refuse to update right away. They like to wait a month or so to make sure any initial x.0 updates have been patched via x.1 updates. My Ipod Touch 5 is still on ios7. When I heard mixed reviews of ios8, and how you won't be able to downgrade back to ios7 if you have issues, I figured let's not fix anything that's not broken. If nothing else, most of the new features are for Iphones anyways, so not missing out much there.

    This isn't just iOS... on the OSX side of things, somebody posted a blog article on how he lost alot of client information due to to updating to the next version of OSX without doing some research. Enterprise infrastructures generally wait a few months to years before updating to the next major release of Windows to ensure compatibility and security are being met.

    TL;DR I'm still on ios7, so nothing I have is broken. When things get to ios10, we'll see if there's a suitable Ipod Touch 7, or just retire the thing and go with what the backlog of games we currently have
     
  6. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    Apple doesn't patch old versions of iOS so your running an OS with known unpatched security vulnerabilities. I personally wouldn't take that risk.

    https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205212
     
  7. ackmondual

    ackmondual Well-Known Member

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    I've wondered about this... iOS is generally more secure, so would it seem even an older version of it is still secure enough?

    I use my Ipod Touch as a gaming device. That's pretty much it, so I haven't been as concerned vs. with a desktop computer.
     
  8. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    So, gaming on iOS is not viable, because you're forced to update and break older(maybe a month old) games or you can face serious issues?

    I know iDevices are not only for gaming, but come on...
     
  9. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    I literally have hundreds of awesome games that run perfectly on iOS 9.02. If this is failure I'm loving it.
     
  10. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    It doesn't excuse some games(maybe one you really love and just bought) breaking.

    We can love the platform? Sure, but turning a blind eye to serious issues are not the way to support, IMO. This kind of situation hurt apple gaming as a whole.
     
  11. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    You're correct and I'm a bit bias since I don't usual revisit games I've already completed.
     
  12. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    My problem is that I have a huge backlog(hundreds of games, most of them paid ones)and due to broken game issues after updates I became insecure on keeping buying games that I won't play immediately. So, I vowed to not buy another game until I play those I already have (which can take years).

    I deeply enjoy mobile gaming and there are some games that I really want to purchase: Space Marshals, This War of Mine, Her Story, Contradiction, SPL-T, just to name a few. However, the lack of guarantee that I am going to be able to play when I make room for them prevents me from doing so.

    I am nothing to Apple. I am aware of that. But imagine how many people might think alike because they got frustrated at some point and react on a similar manner.
     
  13. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    klink, look at what Capcom just did with Ghost Trick. It hurts iOS gaming badly, in my opinion.

    Imagine if you have bought the game and bothered to the point that you didn't even upgrade the OS just to be able to install the game later, after you free some space on your device.

    Now you simply can't, because the game was pulled from your purchase history entirely. That should not even be possible at all.
     
  14. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    #14 Dankrio, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
    Now, thinking more clearly, I may have overreacted. This is a problem of all digital platforms and not Apple's only (though OS breaking games make its a little worse).

    There are some developers that still deserves support for the great games they're delivering.

    I can say, for sure, that I won't be buying anything more from those that stabbed me on the back, however, such as 2k, Capcom, EA and Disney.
     
  15. klink

    klink 👮 Spam Police 🚓

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    I know, I know. I'm pretty much Xing off the major developers one after another. They've seem to have forgotten they are in business because customers buy there products. If something gets pulled I would loudly complain to iTunes support (https://www.apple.com/support/itunes/). Maybe if enough people complain Apple will get the message. Everything is bought through Apple's store and it's there platform.
     
  16. ackmondual

    ackmondual Well-Known Member

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    Wow! AFAIK, if you don't upgrade your OS, it should still show up in your purchase history. It's just that when you try to DL it, the app will say it requires ios x.x or above. Are you saying it counts it like you never purchased it? Is that what Capcom did with Ghost Trick?



    It seems this is the trade off of digital only games. You don't have to worry about losing physical media, and don't need it to be physically delivered, but then there are cases when it becomes unplayable due to cases like that. With the traditional model, there's more or less no way you won't be denied access to it.

    Some of us are in the midst of a game when performing an update to iOS. Or, they were going to start/continue some after a break. Besides, even if you've beaten a game, we should be given the option to revisit the game at our leisure.
     
  17. Dankrio

    Dankrio Well-Known Member
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    ackmondual, unfortunately yes. That's what they just did. And if you take MHFU's description into consideration it's not likely they are planning to fix GT. That's just gross!

    This kind of problem on digital gaming should be adressed ASAP or people will start losing confidence and sales are going to get hurt.
     
  18. reikos

    reikos Well-Known Member

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    yep, don't count on apple for this.. capcom is a mess in its mobile division. small indies have a hard time catching up. i live in constant fear that the next year i may not be able to catch up.. a lot of people don't realize that today games are not buys, are rentals. :/
     
  19. CrazedJava

    CrazedJava Well-Known Member

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    Here's a solution that I keep bringing up but people keep shooting down because somehow Apple == Unquestionable

    You can't easily incorporate backwards compatibility. It's not a trivial matter.

    The problem is we're told to trust iCloud and we can just save things there. Except we can't. Too many games don't support iCloud or GameCenter and since it is an additional cost to implement and may make cross-platform selling more difficult I somewhat understand.

    We're also told that we will also always have access to games we purchased, until we don't.

    There is no good reason, I mean NONE, that an iDevice cannot have extendable storage. SD cards are cheap. Storage is cheap. But consumers are expected to pay an extra $100 to move up the Apple device chain for storage. Even then, if you want more storage, you have to buy a new device.

    It's stupid, it's consumer unfriendly, it makes us completely dependent on Apple to give us a place to store content that we purchase without any control of it ourselves. Not to mention if it is content that is somehow unable to be stored on the cloud, we are either stuck with it on our devices forever or we'll have to accept losing it.

    You don't have to go to the full Android openness and the security issues that creates. Just create a partition on the device that is for paid content, savegames, music, video, whatever. It really isn't hard to do and is much easier than retrofitting backwards compatibility. Make the partition a space where you plug in a micro-SD card and then you can download your purchases to the micro SD and store it yourself.

    Yes, I know this introduces other problems, but it also solves the biggest erosion of consumer confidence. The ability to actually control content you purchased? Does that seem unreasonable?

    You also don't introduce any new problem that you wouldn't have with backwards compatibility. An app that was designed on 6.x won't run on 9.x and is no longer supported? Too bad. It's the same problem either way. The difference is at least I have my own copy that I can try to workaround any issues or bugs with on newer iOS versions rather than losing access completely and at the whim of the company I supposedly paid for it's use.
     
  20. ackmondual

    ackmondual Well-Known Member

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    Can't we just back up our data and apps to iCloud, or did ios8.3 remove that ability (least from what I've heard)?
    I've never read the Terms of agreement (not that I would remember much from those monstrous 20 to 80 page papers), but I don't believe this was ever stated to be the case.

    This is what Apple does. I'm not saying they're the devil, but they definitely want to make the extra $$ by keeping out the cheap, expansion card slot option.

    And if I didn't know better, I'd say Apple wanted to have more control, and to make things less of a hassle for themselves by focusing their efforts elsewhere.

    They may lose some customers, and with how Android has a large marketshare, that can be cause for concern for them. OTOH, it feels like boycotting gasoline... in the end they'll have plenty of takers lined up.
     

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